Archive for the ‘Uruguay’ Category

Adios Uruguay

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Yes! Today is my last night in Uruguay. I am in Salto tonight and I will cross over to Argentina early Monday Sept. 3. Thank God! I can´t say I will miss Uruguay. Not to offend any uruguayos who may read this, but my experience here was not the best. I guess it was the wrong time of year. in summer, Punta del Este is supposed to be the Rio de Janeiro of Uruguay.

Anyway, I will try to be fair and list the pros and cons of my two weeks in Uruguay.

Pros

  1. The grilled beef on the parrilla was excellent. If you like meat, you will like Uruguay.
  2. The weather, although cold, was nice and sunny most of the time. I shudder to think what would have happened if it rained and was cold as well.
  3. There was some nice quiet countryside. Lots of cows (you know you are struggling to find something good to say if ‘lots of cows’ is one positive thing).
  4. Colonia del Sacramento was a nice old town
  5. The thermal springs of Guaviyu were superb. 38 deg C. I soaked in them for an hour until I had wrinkled fingers. Hey that could be the name of a band,´The Wrinkled Fingers’.
  6. Uruguay is cheap. Hotel $10, dinner $8.
  7. The few people I met were friendly. More so than I was. I was in a bad mood most of the time.
  8. There is never a shortage of football (soccer). My first hour in Uruguay, in the taxi to my hotel, the driver gave me a detailed history of football in Uruguay, back to 1916. In any hotel you can switch on the TV and see at least 4-5 different football games.
  9. The 1 liter bottles of beer ($2)
  10. The drivers were pretty bike-friendly. There are  lot of cyclists here so they give you plenty of room.

OK, now the dirt:

Cons

  1. It was COLD. (I know this is not strictly Uruguay´s fault, but I am taking it out on them). The summer is supposed to be nice. As it was, my bare legs saw the light of uruguay only once in 2 weeks.
  2. The countryside was BORING. Cows, sheep, horses and wheat. Yawn. Thank God for my iPod.
  3. I fell once (I blame this on their uneven roads).
  4. Although lots of dogs, only one came roaring at me snarling and barking like Cujo. I quickly pulled out my pepper spray and hit him right in the face from 3 feet. It was satisfying to see him sneeze and claw at his eyes. He actually came after me twice more before giving up, but as soon as I raised my arm again he backed off. Ha.
  5. Free camping was difficult due to the fences and little real estate that was not fully occupied by cows, horses or crops. The worst was when I had to sleep in a cow pasture and woke up with cow poo on everything. Yech!
  6. My back injury. Again, I can´t blame this on Uruguay, but it happened here so…
  7. My maps were not the best, causing me to get lost on more than one occassion and forcing me to stick to main roads, which I detest.

OK, there you have it.

Here´s a few last pix from Uruguay:

This is a poor farmer and his son. I stopped near their house and they came out to chat. He is 48, can´t find a job, so makes his living making honey and candies and selling dairy products from his 3 cows (one died last winter because he could not afford to feed it. )He also has a tractor but can´t afford fuel to run it. They invited me in to their house but he was too depressing so I declined.

Poor Uruguayan farmer and his son.

Katrina, you asked about the food. Here is a typical concoction when camping: a packet of soup, some water, a few veggies (carrots and green peppers) and six cut up hot dogs. Boil until it seems ready. Eat with bread and water. Yum. I call it hot dog soup.

hot dog soup

This was where I was forced to camp in a cow pasture, among the cow pies. Most were dried up, but not all, as I discovered the following morning.

Camping in the cow poo

This one I just call “Kev eating pear on railroad tracks”.

Kev eating pear on railroad tracks